Neuroscience, virtual reality and neurorehabilitation: brain repair as a validation of brain theory

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011:2011:2254-7. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090428.


This paper argues that basing cybertherapy approaches on a theoretical understanding of the brain has advantages. On one hand it provides for a rational approach towards therapy design while on the other allowing for a direct validation of brain theory in the clinic. As an example this paper discusses how the Distributed Adaptive Control architecture, a theory of mind, brain and action, has given rise to a new paradigm in neurorehabilitation called the Rehabilitation Gaming System (RGS) and to novel neuroprosthetic systems. The neuroprosthetic system considered is developed to replace the function of cerebellar micro-circuits, expresses core aspects of the learning systems of DAC and has been successfully tested in in-vivo experiments. The Virtual reality based rehabilitation paradigm of RGS has been validated in the treatment of acute and chronic stroke and has been shown to be more effective than existing methods. RGS provides a foundation for integrated at-home therapy systems that can operate largely autonomously when also augmented with appropriate physiological monitoring and diagnostic devices. These examples provide first steps towards a science based medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nervous System Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface*